Behind the Scenes of a Plantation

Farms, ranches, and plantations require equipment for planting, harvesting, and storing crops.  Some of those items can still be seen at Rosedown Plantation in St. Francesville, LA.

Guests are free to wander around the property.  Around the house, there are plants and fountains.

it’s difficult to know which things have been restored.  This brick doesn’t look old enough to be original.

Further away are the formal gardens.

Then, there are old buildings used to store equipment and vehicles.

Could not find any signs to explain the purpose of the different items.

A purple Salvia and maybe a butterfly bush.

An area of clover makes a soft pathway.

The kitchen building is quite a distance from the main house.  This served two purposes:  eliminate the fire danger to large main house and to avoid heating up the house in the long hot, humid summers.

A brillant red Celosia.  I wonder how well it reseeds.

Surely, the metal grate around the bottom of the house is new.  This allows for airflow under the pier and beam building, but also keeps out wild critters.

The kitchen house would also have been used to store food stuffs.

Beautiful pots of Spider Lilies on porch.

Ta da – the kitchen.  This large cooking fireplace explains why the kitchen is away from the house – fire risk and lots of heat.

Some beauty before a goodbye to the plantation.  Love, love Gomphrenas.

This is the last post about St. Francisville.  Hope you love history as much as I do.

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”  Maya Angelou

Plantation House

No matter how much we abhor the idea of plantations and slaves, it is a fact of history.  There is no justification for the slave system.  So visiting a plantation in no way condones what happened.

Around the main house is shady.  Considering the heat and humility and no air-conditioning, shade was necessary.

The entry way shows the opulence of the house.  The floors looked like linoleum, but the guide assured us that everything is either original or time specific.

Interest in Greek and Roman decor during the 1800’s in Europe and the U.S. seems strange.  But it was considered classy.

Plantation houses provided upscale living for its time period.

No running water, so this was the method of taking a bath – a metal sitting tub.  Is this where “sitz bath” comes from?  The upstairs window was opened and buckets of water were pulled up by servants using a pulley system.

Look at those thin little towels.  They look like cup towels.

The nursery was used for the youngest children.

The area close to the house had walking paths and some water features and shrubs.

Boxwood hedges edged the paths leading to the fountain and the house.  The flower garden was away from the house where it was sunny.  The small building left of center was for garden supplies.

In the sunlight, many different flowers could be grown.  Some Marigolds remain.

At first, I questioned the use of the rebar stand but learned that it was used way back in the 15th century.  They used high quality cast iron that did not corrode.

Not sure if these are Foxglove, Plumbago, or something else.

The deep color of these Globe Amaranth, also known as Gomphrenas or Bachelor Buttons, are stunning.

Life today with our conveniences is easier and hopefully, our respect for all peoples has improved.  But the daily news proves otherwise.

“Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves” ― Abraham Lincoln

Rosedown Plantation

Across the South, there are several plantation houses still standing.  One of the most intact ones left is the 8,000 square foot house at Rosedown Plantation. It was built in 1835 outside of Saint Francisville, Louisiana.

From the front gate, seen here, a long driveway under a canopy of overhanging trees and drooping Spanish moss leads to the stately house.

Can’t you just see Scarlett O’Hara with her parasol and hooped skirt waiting at the front portico to welcome guests that step down from their carriages.

The house and expansive grounds around it are in exceptional condition.  The cotton fields and slaves’ quarters have disappeared, but about 50 acres remain that show the grand scale of this place.

This plantation is well known for its formal gardens.

Couldn’t figure out what kind of small tree this is.  The flowers look like roses, so maybe it’s a small bush beside the tree.

Don’t ya love the modern fire hydrant in that strategic location?

Each section of this large formal garden was surrounded by Boxwood shrubs.  It all seemed rather neglected.  However, it was October.

No indoor plumbing but water to fountains.  How does that work?

At one time, the area probably wasn’t as overgrown and scrubby looking.

Total mystery what this is.  The leaves and flowers look like Begonias.

Love Spider Lilies.

Although it’s difficult to admit and way harder to understand, plantations are a part of the South’s history.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana

Shady and Serene

One of the meeting places for the Southern Gardener Symposium was in an annex building of a stately church.

Grace Episcopal Church in Saint Francisville, LA was completed in 1829.  It was shelled during the Civil War and rebuilt in the 1880’s.

Beside the church, a large cemetery with old gravestones is a quiet place to wander around.

There’s something sobering to be reminded of people who lived so long ago.  History reminds us of the accomplishments of people who came before us.  It also serves as a warning of mistakes not to repeat.  The problems and worries that occupy much of our everyday thoughts and time don’t seem quite so important.

The land in this area is so fertile, but I did not expect ferns growing on tree trunks and branches.

A sense of the past hangs in the air, along with the Spanish moss.

Seriously, how much rainfall is needed for ferns to sprout roots in tree bark?

Old churches make me sentimental and grateful for life and all its opportunities and obligations.

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”   Bill Keane

Southern Garden Symposium

The Southern Garden Symposium met in Saint Francisville, Lousiana, in October, 2019.  Although I knew that gardening conditions are very different there than they are here in Central Texas, it was a chance to see some old southern gardens and hear some interesting speakers.Saint Francisville is a small town with few large meeting venues.  So attendees could choose different sessions held in small buildings in different parts of town.  On the first day, a catered lunch was provided at Afton Villa Gardens.

The antebellum home was destroyed by a fire in 1963.  The gardens remain and are used as a park.

Not sure if this concrete basket is as old as it looks, but it fits perfectly in the setting.

My kind of flower bed – massive plantings with different kinds of flowers.  There are red Zinnas, white Cleome Spider plants (Cleome hassleriana), Marigolds and Pentas.White and Pink Cleome Spider flowers look like sparklers.

Bright Marigolds mixed with Mexican Bush Sage.

English Ivy clinging to the old bricks, more Marigolds, and small purple flowers in the clay pot make a stunning display.

The same flowers were repeated in many beds.  I don’t know if that was intentional or because those flowers were suited for autumn.

Pink Cleome mixed with a wood fern and some kind of shrub.

Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha) is what I consider to be a Central Texas plant, but it obviously does well in other types of climates.

It is native to subtropical and tropical conifer forests in central and eastern Mexico.  This area is about the same latitude as Central Texas.

Brazilian Black and Blue Sage, also called Blue Anise Sage (Salvia guaranitica), needs some shade from midday sun.

Gardening book sales are always a hit anytime gardeners congregate.  Purple Plumbago or Cape Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) in pots flanking the statute.

These large old tree with Spanish Moss hanging down just screams “southern garden.”

After lunch, there was plenty of time for wandering.Peaceful setting for wandering and relaxing.

“Southern living:  where the tea is sweet, words are drawn out, days are warm and faith is strong.”  unknown